Skip to main content

FAQs - ADEPT Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads in the UK

Full details, requirements and specifications to support applicants can be found in the ADEPT Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads in the UK prospectus.


What is Live Labs 2?

ADEPT Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads in the UK is a three year, UK-wide, £30 million programme funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). Live Labs 2 will trial innovative decarbonisation proposals from local highways authority (LHA) led public-private joint ventures, with a particular focus on the decarbonisation of Scope 2 and 3 emissions in the construction, operations, maintenance, and decommissioning phases of the local roads’ life cycle.

Why is the programme needed?

Transport is responsible for over a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. Innovation in transport decarbonisation has focused primarily on the tailpipe through promoting modal shift, behavioural change and technological advancement. Much more focus needs to be dedicated to decarbonising road construction and maintenance. Approximately £2bn is spent every year on maintaining our local highway assets with additional spending on building new local infrastructure assets - all of which have a significant carbon impact. Live Labs 2 will address embedded and hidden carbon from specification and procurement, through construction, delivery and operation to decommissioning and reinstatement.

How will the programme drive innovation?

Live Labs 2 has been designed to stimulate innovation amongst local government, commercial and academic partners, suppliers and specialist SMEs. Innovation can be risky for LHAs, which is why DfT have agreed to fund the programme within the parameters set by ADEPT - Scope 2 and 3 infrastructure carbon emissions and defining what ‘good’ looks like in terms of collaboration, and the robust monitoring of Live Lab outcomes.

How will the sector benefit?

Embedding innovation and untried technology into ‘business as usual’ practices for local authorities is a risk, and one that is often too much for many LHAs within the traditional highways and transportation sectors. Live Labs is designed to accept that risk as a core principle and recognises that success isn’t guaranteed. Collaboration, sharing information and learning, and a willingness to innovate are embedded into the programme which, as we found with Live Labs 1, often leads to behavioural and culture change. Many of the original Live Labs teams were able to secure additional funding to extend their projects and have created significant changes within their organisations who have created dedicated innovation teams as a result.

Who is ADEPT?

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) represents place directors from county, unitary, metropolitan and combined authorities along with directors of local enterprise partnerships, sub-national transport bodies and corporate partners drawn from key service sectors. ADEPT members are at the very heart of maximising clean sustainable growth, delivering the projects that are fundamental to creating more resilient communities, economies and infrastructure. Over 14.7 million households in England – and two thirds of the population – rely on services provided by ADEPT members. These services include housing, environmental and regulatory services, planning, economic development, culture and highways and transport. The Association represents members' interests by proactively engaging central government on emerging policy & issues, responding to consultations and enquiries, and promoting initiatives and research aimed at influencing government policy.

Who is the Commissioning Board?

The Commissioning Board is the strategic oversight group for Live Labs 2. Members are drawn from across the public and private sectors and represent a broad spectrum of the highways and transportation sector with links to many other relevant organisations: ADEPT (Chair), Colas, Construction LCA, County Surveyors’ Society Wales, Department for Infrastructure Northern Ireland, DfT, EY, Innovate UK, Kent County Council, Kier, Leicestershire County Council, Open Data Institute, Ringway, SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), Transport for London, and WSP.

What was the ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme?

The ADEPT SMART Places Programme (Live Labs 1) was a five-year project examining and developing innovation to enable the adoption of innovative and digital technology across the local highway network. Our commercial partners included SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, 02, Ringway and WSP. With the support of DfT, the partnership launched the two-year £22.9m Live Lab programme in May 2019, with 8 local authority led projects taking place across the country – that included Central Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Reading and Transport for West Midlands. The eight Live Labs piloted innovation across SMART communications, energy, materials, mobility and the environment. Due to the pandemic, Live Labs 1 is only now concluding.

Who do I contact for further information?

Detailed information can be found in the Prospectus or please contact [email protected]

Media enquiries: please contact Coast Communications 01579 352600 | VAT number: 337 0556 05 | Website by Cosmic